For so many clients that I work with in couples counseling, there seems to be this overarching belief that since they are in a long term, monogamous relationship the sex and passion will fade. "In the beginning we had sex 2 or 3 times a day", "she used to dress up for me, wear sexy lingerie", "we used to have the hottest sex. Anytime. Anywhere". Then after 6 months, a year, 5 years, things become routine, life happens and the hot passionate sex that once was is a distant memory.
So how do we get it back? I think the biggest part of the answer is that you won't. I know, I know- depressing. But hear me out. When we first begin dating someone and falling in love our bodies and brains go into hormone and chemical overload. Listen to CNN: "Researchers concluded that falling in love is much like the sensation of feeling addicted to drugs with the release of euphoria, including brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin".
We can't live out the rest of our lives drunk and strung out on our significant other. We have to sober up and return to normal life. But this doesn't mean all is lost. We may not have crazy, stupid sex like what we had in the first few months of our relationship, but I think you can have something better. Different, but better.
ACCEPTANCE. The first step is acceptance. If you are spending your time and energy reminiscing about what she used to be or how he used to act you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Acceptance of how things are in their current state is the first stage of growth and change. "Currently my wife and I have routine, predictable sex"... Now we have a baseline from which to grow.
CHANGE. Understanding, and celebrating the fact that as human beings we change- we grow! These are good things. And just like us, our sex lives can mature and get smarter. With age and maturity we become more level headed and gain more insight and perspective. Hopefully, we stop being so self-involved and begin to gain self-love and self-compassion. Through kindness and gentleness towards yourself and your other, an environment of erotic safety can grow. As a couple, turn towards one another with love and curiosity instead of moving away due to fear or lack of communication around sex.
CREATIVITY. Next, we have to get creative. Within the realm of a safe and secure relationship we have the luxury of being able to explore and experiment without the risk of losing the person. Exploring your fantasies- find out what you like, because if you don't know there is no way that your partner will know. Make a sexual/ intimacy bucket list together. Visit a sex store together and explore in a light-hearted, nonjudgmental way. Buy a book on different sexual positions and experiment. Immerse yourself in all thing sexual and sensual and see what you like!
PERSPECTIVE. And lastly, its all in your head! Remember, our brain is our largest and most powerful sex organ. Changing your perspective regarding your current situation can make all of the difference. It may be having sex with the same person for the rest of your life (Glass Half Empty). But remembering that there is newness in every experience (Glass Half Full). Every breath we take is different from the one before. Through the use of mindfulness (staying present in each moment), we can begin to experience and relish the new delight in each experience. Continue to explore each others bodies as if it were the first time. Explore your own body, it has changed since yesterday. Approaching your love life with fresh eyes (and minds) allows you to find novelty in daily life.
Working through this issue instead of rolling over and accepting that this is just what happens in long term relationships is so important. Take ownership of the current situation and make some changes. I have worked with so many couples in sex therapy that have reported that their sex life is so much better now than it was at the beginning of their relationship. With a little work, creativity and communication you and your partner can have a better sex life now than ever before.